poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You May Be Right

I’d kill you if it came to that./ Six decades/ two sons
murder-suicide/ Hanover, New Hampshire./
The police suspect no foul play/ there is no evidence of domestic abuse/
the couple mentioned to their friends many times that they didn’t want to live
without each other./ Would you kill me?

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I’m sorry

My face is like a split melon uncomfortable/ in the dentist’s special
padded chair this morning/ where the local news radio sputters out:
they were married 59 years/ they wrote notes to their sons
about their decision/ to die together./
Everyone in this town knows by now/ he shot her and then himself.
But I wasn’t thinking me and you/ until this song came on after the news broadcast
and sometimes we crash parties too.

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for

That kind of love needs a better name than murder-suicide.
/ I jerk
my head up/bleeding gums and teary
eyes make the dentist pull back/ and as I spit it all out
in the little white sink and watch my blood swirl down/I suddenly know
we have that kind of love.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Non Sequitur

In Slovenia where I was born/ the flowers come out of the ground beak-first to greet the birds/
because if they keep beating at it/ north north north/they will fly past the top pole of the world.
The birds rest their wings/let their skinny and lazy legs do the work that houses do,
Grammy says.

Behind my house is a barn full of feral cats, I can hear them screaming
at the stars some nights/ a whole sustainable cat city that rubs its back
on the rough old wood/ leaving petals of fur thatched there.

The compost smell turns them into vampires at night. I suck the thirsty juice
out of my grapefruit husks and then throw them at the barn.
They bounce off the side and slide into the compost heap with a sluice over the matted fur.
The barn is an animal too/ I see it move at night/ it’s heading to the lake.
But if it gets there it will turn out to be Grandma/ the lake will turn
into the Connecticut River/ and she’ll stand on the bar between the sidewalk and the water
leaning her great neck down like a swan to the river
and drink until she is not thirsty anymore.

Birds can’t fly past the top pole of the world! I insist.
Behind my house before the compost and the barn is the Christmas tree
I didn’t want in the kitchen anymore and wasn’t ready to completely give up.
It looks so lonesome in the snow. This is what cutting down trees looks like.
Chairs, cabinets, floors—all lies. This is raw wood/ frozen/chop/ factual/chop/ authentic.
A whole chain of words that won’t become roots and let this tree grow again.

In the war we were so hungry we ate the trees.
We sucked the sugar out of pine needles. So sweet they were! So sweet, no?

The painted-on white sky and pines touching the clouds
in the picture trick her/ into remembering wrong. Unless she’s right.
Memory is a house that crumbles a little bit every day
onto your head. You just can’t see it yet. That’s why Grandma’s lowered her face
to the river impossibly/ while leaving her fat body on the two-lane bridge.
Boats pass/she smiles at them.

She calls me by my mother’s name. Irene, she says. I correct her.
She insists there is no difference. You will get married to a nice man one day. Do something

about your upper arms. They are too big. Men like little arms. I want to push her off the bridge/
with my big arms/ instead
I remind her that I am getting married/ in May/ she’s got to find a dress soon.
I grab her by the wing to take her shopping. She won’t budge and I start shouting:

The only place you shop is the supermarket! You can’t buy a dress there to wear to my wedding!

Ach! I can, she says. Ach! Jesu Maria! Jesu kindlein! She invokes baby Jesus
and his mother/ in Gottscherrish. The bridge coughs./
It’s trying to be subtle./ Can you take this somewhere else,
the bridge seems to be saying. I’m scenic. People don’t need your immigrant story here.
You never ate pine needles!
/There is no such language as the one you’re speaking. It died./
You country doesn’t exist./ You can’t even remember it anymore./ This is all you’ve got.